“I’m a-working on the railroad….”

So, amidst all the kerfuffle around SL maintenance yesterday, an e-mail arrived announcing the next “exclusive”  gift for Premium members …. a railcar…

I’ve been ambivalent as to the nature, purpose and value of these “gifts”, and still remain so now. Sailing around Blakes Sea in the last gift was fun, I have to admit – albeit relatively short-lived (the boat hasn’t seen the light of day since; not even on the river flowing near to my Linden Home & which wends through a number of regions). I’m still very much of the opinion that there are better ways to offer incentives to get people signed-up to Premium. However, the railcar.

I’ll admit, things didn’t get off to a good start. I had issues teleporting to recommended start points, repeated crashes on arrival, and then rezzing issues for the car itself, all of which I put down to the aftermath (7 hours after the fact) to the overnight maintenance, but which nevertheless left me grumpy.

Me and my railcar … 30 seconds before my third consecutive crash after rezzing it…

The car itself is a mesh creation – as with the sailboat – with a land impact of 42. It’s the work of Silent Mole, and very well detailed. On rezzing the car will automatically snap-align to any nearby compatible tracks (or tell you none are available and where you might find some. I do recommend reading the accompanying notecard for a list of suitable locations). Up to four people can ride a car, with the owner using the UP ARROW key to start / keep the car in motion and DOWN ARROW to brake, while SHIFT-LEFT ARROW and SHIFT-RIGHT ARROW allow you to change the direction you’re facing on the car.

There are also various menu-accessible “customisation” options, which can be accessed when you’re not actually “riding” the car. These allow you to change the colour of various elements of the car, add / remove detailing, set the speed of motion, camera position, etc..

Traffic on the lines isn’t an issue – everything is phantom, although it is a little eerie having someone pass through you from behind or when coming in the other direction.

For those interested in exploring mainland regions, the car does offer a means of – dare I say it – providing a shared experience for up to four people, although the poor bugger actually “driving” the car is precluded from any conversation while the car is in motion, as they have to repeatedly tap the UP ARROW key to keep things moving. This can get tiresome, especially when lag is encountered. Making sure you flick the points as you approach them can also lead to some interesting diversions, however. Just mind the buffers; they most assuredly are not phantom.

On the fun scale, it has to be said the railcar does score – although the novelty factor may increase any initial score given. As a “Premium benefit”, however it is still pretty much sitting in the box with the rest of the offerings to date: something that is unlikely to impress many outside of those with an interest in exploring the Mainland rail networks. For the rest, and once the novelty has (possibly quickly) worn off, this is a gift liable to occupy inventory space more than it will be rezzed.

10 thoughts on ““I’m a-working on the railroad….”

  1. The “benefits” of Premium membership are somewhat dubious and, frankly, rather pathetic.
    Premium sandbox? I rent land
    A house? I rent land
    A stipend? My $10 goes much further on LindeX
    Freebies? Purlease!

    To be honest, I would happily pay Linden Lab $10 a month or more if there was some actual tangible benefit. But there is sadly none.

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    1. I confess I was once as dubious over Premium, particularly after downgrading. However….

      – I rent land, but find my Linden home a useful “bolt-hole” when I need P&Q
      – I have a 64×64 build platform, but a Premium sandbox is excellent for working on complex builds and are a lot quieter than “regular” sandboxes

      The main issue with the structure of Premium benefits is that they are not really aimed towards established users but rather – as mentioned above – at those new to SL as a whole, where the value may (initially) be seen as being somewhat greater than you and I might feel.

      And in that regard, I would like to see LL do more that directly benefits established users.

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      1. Yes indeed. There does seems to be a rather short-sighted fixation on customer acquisition rather than customer retention. As you say, there really is very little to tempt the established Resident. And, worse, a lot of the ‘benefits’ harm (or, at the least, disadvantage) established businesses and these, surely, are the life-blood of SL.

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    2. For me, the benefit is voting with my dollars and telling them directly that I believe in the product enough to actually pay for it.

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      1. I can appreciate that point of view and would say that’s probably about the only benefit really.
        However, I do spend an awful lot of real $ inworld so I’d like to think I’m doing the same 🙂

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  2. I admit, if it weren’t for having a grandfathered stipend of L$500, I probably wouldn’t maintain my Premium membership. As it is, it’s roughly on par with the Lindex and I’d more than break even if I ever switched to annual billing!

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  3. I dont get really warm from the premium extra’s the can betetr dump the premium sandbox that always look empty and give it to everybody where its hard needed.
    And with houses there better places then packed on each other with Linden home.
    Gifts, not sure what todo with a railcare. invetory full enough. takes years to clean from the past.

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  4. If one thing i don’t regret is being premium since i joined SL!
    Only for the online support, that despite all, always solved the problems i encountered!
    Don’t use it for some time now but i can only make sure, despite a few think I’m just a hatred SL loudmouth!, that LL support on my case was always up to my needs!
    I still wished i had the chance to grab that 1 time offer of a full sim without initial fee, luckly i didnt as it gave me the chance to see and realize there are more virual grids then Sl that are worth my time, but Sl is and will be for long time we all wish and hope, the gathering place and where any can socialize on a rush!
    Being said all this, i never got any premium gift, 1st cause i dont use mesh (a choice i made and i don’t even bother to justify anymore, as ALL should be around, is all about any choices!)
    And just less then a month ago I relize that there is somethingcalled mainland, lol!
    Tried to go there to ride a cannonball race, but lag was impossible and crossing sims a instant crash (Used firestorm and phoenix, same results, instant crash whanever i crossed a sim!)
    Didn’t realize lag was so terrible as i didnt also saw how many users still make their lives on mainland!
    Used to rent a homestead since i joined SL, with the size of a full sim and 3750 prims that allow so much to be build in (Some will understand what i mean as they already visited Pearl Dreams!).
    I feel now like a minor group on SL, the ones that sill want to build and own land for that purpose!
    As it seems all the majority, if they can afford to be using mainland or L homes (Yes i still have mine, that i just offered as a base to my friends that cant rent a home!) are really not into that!
    So for those, that didn’t made a choice of not using mesh, can’t afford the freedom of having a private island and will for sure not have on their inventory a train (I did quite a few of my own lol) or a saliling boat, Linden lab gifts will be for sure well received and used (even if i don’t see to many of the above majority of users, more in need of a good sex Hud or the latest pair of boots, really bothering to try it)!
    And to end, if i really can only say that being a premium was a wise choice for Me, I still think that the ones taking decisions on the Lab know that more then molding tendencies what is needed to do is solve tech problems.
    As soon as the lab manages to make the hardware reliable, allowing sim crossings, full crowed sim without crashes and so on or at least minimize its problems they can really fill their natural place, of a provider of services!

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